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Surviving the Song That Doesn’t End



As a father of two (7 years and 4 months), I know that exposure to music is beneficial for children.  Scientific studies indicate that music can assist with language acquisition, sensorimotor development, and emotional regulation.  Whether they’re attending a local Cookie Concert or just listening to the radio, kids thrive with music in their lives.

However, research rarely considers the prolonged impact of children’s music on the parents.  Symptoms can range from irritability and nausea to mania and dissociation, so it is essential that you shield yourself from the worst effects.  Here is some crucial advice for new parents:

  1. Diligently quarantine your home.  My whole family may have gotten COVID-19, but my eldest didn’t hear “Baby Shark” until the age of 4.
  2. “My baby only listens to Mozart.”   Your baby craps its pants, Helen.  Stay humble and play whatever makes you happy.
  3. Put a hard limit on how often a song can be repeated, or you will never hear the end of it.
  4. On tough nights, you might sing the same lullabies for a VERY long time, so song selection is key!  Joni Mitchell bears repeating as a kind of midnight meditation. “Wheels on the Bus” will turn your brain into sausage casing in 30 minutes or less.
  5. If a new toy plays music, STEP 1: Remove the batteries, and STEP 2: Remove the gift-giver from your life. Repeat as needed.
  6. The music played in most kids’ cartoons is awful and should be prosecuted as war crimes. Except for Storybots, which genuinely slaps.  More of that, less of the rest.
  7. Put a hard limit on how often a song can be repeated, or you will never hear the end of it.
  8. Be judicious about censorship when sharing your musical tastes.  You may love Dead Kennedys, but your kid will pick the worst possible moment to publicly announce that he’s “too druk to fug.”  
  9. Never let your kids stream music from your devices.  They will find awful songs you never knew existed, including The Chipmunks’ cover of “Bad Romance” and the Baha Men singing “It’s a Small World.”
  10. On the other hand, don’t judge your kids too harshly for loving weird crap like the “Pancake Robot” song.  If you listened to Prozzak, they should be judging YOU.
  11. When in doubt, turn to the Holy Trinity, a.k.a., Sharon, Lois, and Bram.
  12. And finally, put a hard limit on how often… never mind.

Good luck out there.


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